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Restoring Threads and Posts


David
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It is possible to retrieve material lost in the recent crash.

 

Google takes 'snapshots' of sites every few months and it's possible to access these in the Google cache.

 

Once found you can then create a new thread to restore the one which has been lost. However, this is time consuming so it's not likely we'll get back even the majority of what we lost. It is a way, however, of retrieving threads you enjoyed, started or which you felt were particularly worth saving. For many, this means you can find your 2011 and 2012 reading lists.

 

From what I've found it seems the last Google snapshot was taken in early November 2012. This means anything posted after then really is lost.

 

To find a thread you must first know what you're looking for! Then carry out a Google search, but add this after the search term:

 

site:http://www.bookgrouponline.com

 

So, in searching for the group read discussion of Brave New World, I searched using:

 

"Brave New World Huxley site:www.bookgrouponline.com"

 

This ensures the only results returned are from our site. Of course, some will be from the live site as it stands now - there will be several threads mentioning Brave New World. However, once you find what appears to be the lost thread you were looking for, click or hover over the >> symbol beside that search result. This then accesses the preview function Google offers. Because the page no longer exists there will be no image of the site [EDIT: the full site being live now you'll see an image of the error message saying the page cannot be found], but you need to click on the 'cached' option on the far right:

 

bgocacheexplanation.jpg

 

This then takes you to a stored snapshot of the page. It's only a 'picture' so nothing works.

 

It makes it easier if you select 'Text-only Version' at the top of the page:

 

bgocacheexplanation2.jpg

 

Then you just select and copy all the text and paste it into the new thread you are creating. Obviously there is a fair amount of 'junk' in the text from the profile material we all have and which appears when we post. Just delete that, keeping the dates of posting, the post number and the name of the poster, which you can put in bold to make it clear.

 

At the top of each restored thread put the fact it's been restored in a different colour so it's clear for future visitors.

 

When people quote from other posters you will need to restore the quote. Just highlight the quoted text and press the speech bubble button in the tools above your posting box (under the colour selector). Then in the first 'QUOTE' code, in square brackets, put an equals sign after 'Quote' and the name of the person being quoted.

 

You can see how it all should look in the restored Brave New World thread, here.

 

In relation to book lists you should simply track down your own and add it to the 2011 or 2012 threads.

 

Many thanks in advance to everyone prepared to help out with doing some of this.

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So, the 2012 Book list came back up and Mister Hobgoblin had his whole list and Luna reserved her place. So does that mean I shouldn't try to restore that thread to get my list? I didn't keep a list somewhere else (I've only done a list since 2011, so I am an amateur), so that's my only way of getting my list, but I don't want to cause problems for MrHG and Luna.

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So, the 2012 Book list came back up and Mister Hobgoblin had his whole list and Luna reserved her place. So does that mean I shouldn't try to restore that thread to get my list? I didn't keep a list somewhere else (I've only done a list since 2011, so I am an amateur), so that's my only way of getting my list, but I don't want to cause problems for MrHG and Luna.

The best thing to do with those lists is to find your own and add it to the new version of that thread. You may well find in searching using your own username that you find an individual post with just your list. Otherwise it's a question of tracking down the page which had yours on.

 

I'm afraid this isn't a straightforward process. I did try to find someone's reading list a week or two ago and it wasn't easy.

 

I've added this to the OP.

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I found one "cache" that has almost all of my book lists for 2012 and copied it in the appropriate place. I still can't find one that has my list for 2011 (other than the first five entries), which is funny. As in peculiar. I had linked to it on facebook (because I get asked for reading recommendations a lot) and thought I had it made doing that, but when I went and found it, it just linked back to the current 5-entry page. I still have some hope of finding it another way. In the meantime, I plan to create a separate file with this information as a back-up.

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I found one "cache" that has almost all of my book lists for 2012 and copied it in the appropriate place. I still can't find one that has my list for 2011 (other than the first five entries), which is funny. As in peculiar. I had linked to it on facebook (because I get asked for reading recommendations a lot) and thought I had it made doing that, but when I went and found it, it just linked back to the current 5-entry page. I still have some hope of finding it another way. In the meantime, I plan to create a separate file with this information as a back-up.

I'm not sure why the 2011 lists can't be found. I've had a good try, but to no avail. Possibly this is because the site still has part of the original thread - maybe that stops Google presenting an old snapshot. I'm not overly convinced by my own explanation there. I'll try again tomorrow.

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  • 2 months later...

Well done Waawo for the number of threads you have restored over the last couple of days! :notworthy:

 

As I have been disappointingly unsuccessful at finding the threads I've looked for in the Google cache I am particularly impressed.

Do you have some secret 'search' formula that has eluded me (and apparently the rest of us)?

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I noticed that waawo had been so much more successful than the rest of us, too, even with some books that I had searched for. So, waawo, hats off. And could you look for the 2011 book lists? All I can find is the first 5 entries and that was a very good year for books for me!

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Well done Waawo for the number of threads you have restored over the last couple of days! :notworthy:

 

 

Just noticed all the threads Waawo has restored since my last visit, impressive. I tried looking for some and had no success. So thanks Waawo :)

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I think it's great that threads have been revived but I think the number of posts I had is reduced from what it was before the "Fall" and the date of my joining has me as a relative newbie. :scratchhe

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I think it's great that threads have been revived but I think the number of posts I had is reduced from what it was before the "Fall" and the date of my joining has me as a relative newbie.

Unfortunately a restored thread, however many contributors there were to the original, counts as a single post for the person who has restored it.

 

This is the second time that some of us have lost large amounts from our post-count because of this. :(

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Thanks for your comments - you're very welcome, I use this site every day so it's good to be able to give something back, especially as I can't subscribe at the moment.

 

Do you have some secret 'search' formula that has eluded me (and apparently the rest of us)?
Hehe, nope, no special formula, I have just been recovering what I can from a different archive. I've been meaning to do a post for a couple of days but the archive site seems to have been having a few "issues" so I left it; this seems like the ideal opportunity. I'll try to outline the process in a similar way to how David's first post on this thread described recovering material from Google's cache. Apologies in advance for such a long post! Beware though: I'm finding the process incredibly frustrating, especially when you can see that what you're looking for is in the cache but can't be recovered!

 

So, the archive is the Wayback Machine at archive.org: http://archive.org/web/web.php.

 

This archive works in a fundamentally different way to Google's cache. Well, two ways actually.

 

First, it is a proper archive, rather than a "rolling" cache. This means that at certain times, websites are "crawled" and the contents archived - in theory, statically. So it shouldn't matter what happens to the pages months or even years later, even if they stay online with the same internet addresses - the archived version should remain in place.

 

Second, keyword searching is not possible! This sounds grim, but the reason it's not so grim is that links on the archived pages still work (if the page linked to is in the archive of course). So, imagine a web page "http://page1.html", this would be archived as "http://archive_address/page1.html". So far so good. If the page had a link of the form "http://page2.html", and assuming page2.html is in the archive, then the link in the archived version of page1.html will be translated to "http://archive_address/page2.html" - so you can to a certain extent browse around the internet as it was at the time the snapshot you are looking at was taken.

 

Front page is straightforward:

 

capture1.png

 

Entering http://bookgrouponline.com and hitting "Take Me Back" presents the following:

 

capture2.png

 

The blue dots on the calendar show when the site has been crawled. Jan 2013 not too interesting for this purpose, but clicking on 2012 shows:

 

capture3.png

 

The size of the blue dot indicates how many captures were made at that point. May 2012 seems to be most promising, and clicking on "May 3" shows:

 

[Geek trivia: first you see the following screen, showing how the archive "remembers" that when this archive was taken, just after midnight on May 3 2012, there was a redirect in place, from "http://www.bookgrouponline.com/" to "http://www.bookgrouponline.com/forum/"]

 

capture4.png

 

OK, only four images allowed in each post it seems, so hopping on to another post...

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(Part 1 is here ...)

 

So, finally, the archived version of the page:

 

capture5.png

 

As mentioned above, in theory, the links are clickable. So, I can click on "Novels of the 21st Century", then "Colm Toibin - Brooklyn" and, bingo, we've struck gold:

 

capture6.png

 

Scroll down on this page for example, and you'll see Binker's long post from 20th April 2012 which was missing, but is now restored. Recovery from this point is as per David's first post on this thread: cut and paste the text into a new message, format and so on.

 

But this is where theory and practice diverge: over the last couple of days I've been seeing a lot of "the machine that hosts this file is down" error messages, and also the following error message when clicking on a post link:

 

capture7.png

 

This situation with archive.org seems to be fluid, so I think they are having hardware or some other issues there - hopefully in the days to come the access will settle down and there'll be a lot more available to restore! I have found that changing the exact format of the URL can help: the page has to have been crawled in the first place in order to have been archived, and the URL that the robot crawler used may not have been exactly the same as the URL in any links on the page. Hence the frustration!

 

There is also a list of all 20,727 URLs that have been captured from the domain "bookgrouponline.com" available at: http://web.archive.org/web/*/http://bookgrouponline.com/* - this is searchable, but only for terms which appear in the URL, for example thread numbers and post numbers.

 

Hope this helps!

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Waawo, thanks so much for that - and for all your sterling work! It's much appreciated (and I hope it won't be much longer before we can get our future costs sorted and subscriptions set - our host is apparently now ready to start working on this).

 

I did actually take a look at Wayback a while ago. I suspect I just didn't understand how it worked, assuming it was the same as Google's cache. All I could find were the forum index pages and I didn't realise they were live and you could click them!

 

To quote a great man, "D'oh!"

 

That's excellent. Thank you again.

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  • 2 weeks later...

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